Exclusive: Crowdfunding Platform Republic Aims to be the 'Amazon of Crypto', Company CEO Says

Omar Faridi
  • Crowdfunding platform (for startups) Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen thinks blockchain technology can help eliminate costly intermediaries from transactions.
  • Nguyen noted the word "smart" used to refer to smart contracts is "misleading."

Kendrick Nguyen, the co-founder and CEO of Republic, a crowdfunding platform for both digital and traditional assets, recently shared some of his views and insights regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology with CryptoGlobe.

Nguyen, who has a strong background in corporate finance and civil jurisprudence, told us that his firm, Republic, “aims to be the place where people from all walks of life go to make small private investments with the simplicity, frequency and diversity that you see with purchases on Amazon.”

The former Stanford law fellow’s comments were in response to a previous statement he had made that he’d like for Republic to become the “Amazon of crypto.” Nguyen had explained that you cannot become “the Amazon” of anything if you simply sell one product - which is partly the reason why the startup platform began supporting cryptocurrency-related firms on its platform.

Democratized Investing

In his written correspondence with CryptoGlobe, Nguyen wrote that Republic “sees the future of investing becoming a democratized version of what it is today and we intend to be the go-to platform for anyone to participate in these investments.”

As mentioned on the firm’s official website, it is part of some of the most established startup platforms on the internet. These include ProductHunt (leading curator of newly introduced products), CoinList Capital LLC (a blockchain-related financial services firm), and AngelList (a US-based website for startups and angel investors).

Interestingly, when questioned whether he thinks smart contracts are legitimate contracts and if they are actually “smart”, the former securities lawyer said:

Some smart contracts are ‘real’ to the extent that they meet relevant legal requirements. But the term ‘smart’ is highly misleading. The only thing ‘smart’ about smart contracts thus far is the automation of delivering various performance obligations by counter-parties.

Kendrick Nguyen

He added: “I'm still waiting to see how/if enforcement and mediation [of smart contracts] can be automated.”

In previous interviews, Nguyen had noted that blockchain technology has “enabled the disintermediation of that ‘middle function’ [middlemen in transactions] and provides value back to the” parties engaging in the transaction.

Databases Might Be Better In Some Cases Than Blockchain

When we asked why he was supportive of blockchain even though Andreas Antonopoulos, a highly respected distributed systems expert and Bitcoin maximalist, had criticized the distributed ledger, Nguyen clarified that he thinks:

[Andreas was referring to] ... the idea that many enterprise companies intend to use permissioned blockchains for uses that are better suited for a database. But in the instance of (peer-to-peer or decentralized) P2P networks that eliminate costly or unreliable intermediaries, blockchains are a very effective solution.

Kendrick Nguyen

In response to whether he’d be interested in teaching courses on blockchain and cryptocurrencies at UC Berkeley, where he graduated from, Nguyen said: “I would love to get back into academia part time and teach a seminar when my schedule permits. Most likely sometime in 2020.”

Commenting on the emerging field of token economics and governance, Nguyen noted that they will gradually become more “complex” and that cryptos will likely benefit from the increasing “academic research and thought leadership … [and that it] would not surprise [him if his] former colleagues at Stanford's Center for Corporate Governance are already researching or writing about the evolution of and optimal frameworks for token governance.”